Philip Services Corp.'s attempt to silence cyberspace critics provoked immediate reaction yesterday in the very forum it seeks to censor.
Philip has used courts in California and Hamilton to force Yahoo! Inc. and several Internet service providers to release information that helped Philip identify the pseudonymous authors of what Philip claims are defamatory messages posted to an Internet chat board operated by Yahoo.
"(Philip) is now conducting another witchhunt", wrote one participant, writing under the pseudonym Countbuster68. Philip has petitioned the courts to learn CountBuster's identity.
CountBuster68 said in a post that he was unable to post as CountBuster and so assumed the new alias of CountBuster68.
"It shows how PHV's management efforts is unrewarding toward its shareholders", wrote invest108, an alias for another participant. "Instead of concentrating on keeping the company alive, it is continuing to engage in interfering with the principle of our rights to freedom of expression and privacy. All this energy expended in a direction which has little to do with building share holders wealth, will just erode the stock price down further."
Another participant in the forum, writing under the alias tsmith9500, applauded Philip's actions.
"This particular site has become the most vicious and unuseful place for investment knowledge that I visit", wrote tsmith9500. "With the actions that (Philip has) taken, perhaps now some of these people will think before acting. I sure hope so."
Many of those who contribute to the Yahoo! message board were disappointed that Yahoo! and their Internet service providers didn't fight harder to protect their online identities.
"Who will be the first ISP to say we will fight for our clients right to privacy until the bitter end?" wrote vf500. "If your ISP easily hands out information, you should terminate them ... Are there even any who will stand up now and fight?"
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The Philip Services Corp. message board at Yahoo: